Battle of the Bridge

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Battle of the Bridge
Battle of al-Jisr
Part of the Muslim conquest of Persia – Second invasion of Mesopotamia
Zalabiya,Euphrat.jpg
The battle was joined on the banks of the Euphrates
Date November 634
Location Marauha at the Euphrates near Kufa, Iraq
Result Decisive Sasanian victory[1]
Belligerents
Rashidun Caliphate Sasanian Empire
Commanders and leaders
Abu Ubayd [1]
Al-Hakam [2]
Jabr [2]
Al-Muthanna (WIA)[3]
Bahman Jadhuyih
Jalinus
Strength
9,000[citation needed]
6,000-10,000[4][5]
30,000
10,000[6]
Probably more than the Arabs[5]
Casualties and losses

4,000-7,000 killed

  • 1,000+ killed in action
  • 3,000+ drowned
3,000 survived or deserted[7][5][8]
6000[citation needed]

The Battle of the Bridge or the Battle of al-Jasr (Arabic: معركة الجسر‎) was a battle at the bank of the Euphrates river between Arab Muslims led by Abu Ubaid al-Thaqafi, and the Persian Sasanid forces led by Bahman Jaduya. It is traditionally dated to the year 634, and was the only major Sassanid victory over the invading Muslim armies.[1]

Context[edit]

The Muslim forces had already taken Hira and assumed control of the surrounding Arab-inhabited areas of Mesopotamia, on the banks of the Euphrates.[9] The fall of Hira shocked the Persians, as the "youthful Yazdgard, began to take the business of the Arabs more seriously."[9] Yazdgard sent forces to the Arab border areas, and looked to be gaining the upper hand, as Al-Muthanna had to call for reinforcements from Medina.[9]

The new Caliph, Umar, sent Abu Ubaid to Mesopotamia to take command from Al-Muthanna. He encountered the main Persian force under Bahman Jaduya, near what is the present site of Kufa. The two forces faced each other on opposing banks of the Euphrates. As it was crossed by a bridge, the battle came to known as the Battle of the Bridge.[9]

Battle[edit]

Bahman invited Abu Ubayd to decide who should cross the river.[10] The latter took the initiative, and crossed the river aggressively; this proved to be disastrous. According to accounts, the sight of the elephants in the Persian army frightened the Arabs' horses. A white elephant apparently tore Abu Ubaid from his horse with its trunk, and trampled him under foot. At this, and the inability of the Arabs troops to push back the Persians who had formed a rigid line close to the bridge, the Arabs panicked and fled.[9][5] After Abu Ubayd the command was taken by al-Hakam and Jabr, his brother and son, respectively, and eventually al-Muthanna.[2] According to tradition, Al-Muthanna remained to fight so that the Arabs could repair the bridge and flee,[8] losing 4,000 men - although any accurate estimates of the figures involved in this and other contemporaneous battles are not known.[9] Around 3,000 Arab Muslims were carried away by the river.[11]

Sources agree that for whatever reason, Bahman Jaduya did not pursue the fleeing Arab army.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Sykes, Percy, History of Persia, Vol.1, (Routledge and Kegan Paul:London, 1969), 493
  2. ^ a b c https://books.google.com/books?id=bcWtttJL3WEC&lpg=PA404&pg=PA404
  3. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=47PEMS6emv0C&lpg=PA179&pg=PA193
  4. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=47PEMS6emv0C&pg=PA188
  5. ^ a b c d https://books.google.com/books?id=7U0hY3wtXe4C&lpg=PA22&pg=PA22
  6. ^ Parvenah Pourshariati, Decline and Fall of the Sasanian Empireand few elephants, (I.B.Taurus & Co.Ltd., 2011), 217.
  7. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=flg-UX6fOdkC&lpg=PT75&pg=PT75
  8. ^ a b Mazhar-ul-Haq, A Short History of Islam: From the Rise of Islam to the Fall of Baghdad, 571 A.D. to 1258 A.D., 2nd edition, Bookland, 1977, p. 230
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Richard Nelson Frye, The Cambridge History of Iran: The period from the Arab invasion to the Saljuqs, (Cambridge University Press, 1975), 8-9.
  10. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=7U0hY3wtXe4C&lpg=PA22&pg=PA22
  11. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=d-oHBAAAQBAJ&lpg=PA135&pg=PA134